Posting in Education
Three-fourths of the patents from the nation's top research universities were filed by immigrants. However, many may not be allowed to work in the United States.
A new study reports that 76% of patents from America’s top 10 patent-generating universities in 2011 had a foreign-born inventor. However, many of the innovators are restricted from staying within the US to build new enterprises.
That's the gist of a new report, “Patent Pending: How Immigrants Are Reinventing The American Economy," issued by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan advocacy group, is intended to highlight the value foreign-born graduates bring to the US economy.
"Foreign-born scholars compose a disproportionate share of the creators and innovators that help America to remain competitive in an increasingly global, knowledge-driven economy," the report states. In addition, 99% of the patents by these foreign-born inventors were in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), an area where the US is projected to face a shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree workers by 2018, the report states. The following observations are also made:
"Nationally, immigrants currently make up just 16.5% of the US population over age 25, but account for a far greater share of this country’s innovations. Studies have shown that among the American population with advanced degrees, immigrants are three times more likely than native-born to file a patent. Between 1990 and 2000, more than one in four of the Nobel Prize winners based in the United States were immigrants. And in recent years, immigrants have been the innovators behind some of the country’s most forward-looking businesses: From 1995 to 2005, foreign-born entrepreneurs helped found 25% of all new high-tech companies, creating 450,000 jobs."
The report notes that the current US immigration law is stifling this innovation, however. "When many of these student inventors graduate, they are unable to get a visa that would allow them to stay in the US and potentially help create jobs." The report adds that the current total US allotment of economic-based green cards would not even be sufficient to grant permanent residency to every graduate student or postdoctoral researcher in the science, engineering, and healthcare fields in the U.S. on a temporary visa – a group that numbered close to 190,000 in 2009. "Each year, more than half the employment-based green cars are actually used to bring in the spouses and children of workers, leaving fewer than 70,000 green cards for the actual workers educated in the U.S. in addition to the thousands of highly-skilled workers educated and trained overseas brought in by American employers."
Accessing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s public online database, the study reviewed 1,466 patents from the top ten patent-producing universities in 2011: the University of California system, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin, the University of Texas system, California Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois system, University of Michigan, Cornell University and Georgia Institute of Technology.
The review of patents from these leading research universities not only found that 76% of the patents granted had a foreign-born inventor, but 54% of the patents were awarded to the group of foreign inventors most likely to face visa hurdles: students, postdoctoral fellows, or staff researchers.
The report also states that foreign-born inventors played significant roles in the fields of semiconductor device manufacturing (87%), information technology (84%), pulse or digital communications (83%), pharmaceutical drugs or drug compounds (79%) and optics (77%). The nearly 1,500 patents represented inventors from 88 different countries.
Patents are both bellwethers and enablers of innovation, the report argues, citing Nobel-Prize winning economist Robert Solow's pronouncement that as much as half of a country’s economic growth was attributable not to capital or labor, but to actual “technical change.” This is a message not lost on nations such as China and Chile, who are "actively trying to bolster their economies by convincing talented entrepreneurs and innovators to move there."
Some examples of innovations from immigrants include the following, as cited in the report:
- Patent #8,084,889, Electricity Without Wires: "A Croatian professor and a Greek engineering graduate student at MIT invented a way to transmit electricity wirelessly between magnetic coils so that devices like cell phones, electric cars, and even medical defibrillators can be charged without using a wall socket. A startup commercializing the technology has already entered into partnerships with Toyota, Audi, and a medical device company to explore incorporating it into products."
- Patent #8,029,857, A More Efficient Way To Purify Seawater: "An Indian-born postdoctoral fellow at the University of California—Los Angeles was part of a team that invented a water filtration membrane that used nanotechnology to desalinate water more efficiently than had ever been done before. A startup has already raised $75 million to commercialize their invention, which could help reduce worldwide water shortages.
- Patent #7,936,392, A New Way to Focus Pictures: "A Malaysian-born PhD graduate of Stanford University was one of the key inventors behind The Lytro camera, a digital camera he brought to market in February that lets the user adjust what’s in focus after the picture has already been taken."
(Photo: National Science Foundation.)
Jun 26, 2012
The general population in America is not concerned about brain drain or entrepreneurship. As long as Dancing with the Stars, or American Idol is not affected. As long as the next iPad, iPhone, or 4G device is available they don't really care where they come from. It is only when they can't find a good paying job they get concerned, and who do they blame, immigrants. It is easier to blame them, than work at getting a good education and working your way up.
I'm guessing that most of these people are students or visiting professors here for a limited time. Most of the students come here to learn from the best and then go back to help their own countrymen develop a better life. But they get greedy and want to stay here where they can make more money. They are saying 'to hell with my country, it's all about me'. And we are complaining about this. What's wrong with this picture?
The talent that's being turned away are the millions in "progressive education" in our public schools. Oh, sure, the best and brightest will succeed due to their own personal motivations. The rest are victims of a planned result of progressive education - to turn out a middle class who are only educated enough to perform the menial tasks alloted them by the elite. As has been previously stated in this thread, success is penalized, failure is rewarded, and mediocrity is encouraged.
Joe, where have you been? Not in America? Gripped by fear of science and propelled by religious fundamentalists waiting for god to carry them up, many Americans hate foreigners, hate science, hate the basic tenants of their religion (love they neighbor; do onto others....etc), and distracted with the business of consuming cannot figure out that patents, science, foreigners, and brains has anything to do with their church, their neighborhood, or their favorite TV show. So they continue treating their church like a club or gang of belonging. The insiders in their own decadent incestuous religous club would likely make Jesus spit. Americans have plummeted to a new low IQ. America has been sowing. Soon it will have little more than moronic politians and bankruptcy to reap. On the positive side, all this could be changed overnight when eyes and hearts are open and there is an informed populace, and willing political force. America has shown, however, that at least in recent times, this is unlikely. So keep them furiners outta hare, cuz we're here Mer-e-cans.
Yes, we have plenty of brilliant "home-grown" people and that issue has already been discussed. There is room for both. But, instead, we are flooded with illegals and third-world refugees who provide little of value and end up taking more than giving. (Yes, there are exceptions, so don't go there). A good part of our problems are because of this. Diseases that were once eradicated are cropping up again. We've had problems with our food supply and they are responsible for a lot of crime. We used to have standards on who we let in. A potential immigrant used to have to provide value to our society. Not anymore. A country cannot continue to absorb millions of people who provide little in the way of being productive members of society and still survive. Immigration must be controlled to a certain extent. And most of these "immigrants" don't assimilate. They demand we conform to them. I say, why did you come here if you want to make us like the sewer you left? A country has a right to control who and how many people it lets in. You want to immigrate to the US? Fine. Do it the right way and provide value. Don't come here to sponge of the rest of us.
This article is full of the kind of vagueness that sets my spidey-sense tingling. "Many" innovaters are restricted - how many are we talking about? I'm guessing less than half, otherwise the author would have said "most". It could be 10%. Or 5%. "Many" is in the eye of the beholder. Why do these innovaters have trouble getting an employment-based green card? We aren't told. Maybe it is because they aren't employed; I hear recent college grads are having a devil of a time finding jobs these days. The problem could be they aren't eligible, not that there aren't enough available (as the author suggests). Just because you have a patent doesn't mean your invention is actually marketable. Lots of really useless stuff is awarded a patent; do I have to suggest performing a search? Maybe we are keeping the inventors of useful stuff and weeding out the losers. Lastly, just because you aren't physically in the U.S. doesn't mean your invention can't be marketed. I hear you can do all kinds of things across the Internet these days - even have meetings with people all over the world.
The USA has over 1.8 million able and willing US citizen STEM workers who are not employed to do STEM work. Dozens of academic studies (Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, RAND Corp...) have concluded that there was and is no shortage of able and willing US citizen STEM workers. Several studies have concluded that execs have been employing a mere 35% of the able and willing US citizen STEM workers we've been adding in recent decades. The article is also deceptive in that the State Department has repeatedly reported that they've been issuing over 110,000 H-1B visas each year via consular offices in addition to an unspecified number of changes of status to H-1B. Even former cross-border bodyshopper has admitted that, by every measure (especially creativity, flexibility, dynamic application of principles and concepts to new situations and purposes), US STEM workers are the best, and that the core purpose of H-1B and L-1 visas is to obtain cheap, young, pliant foreign labor (and, we have good reason to believe, to undermine standards of professional ethics). Meanwhile, hundreds of US politicians are pushing to stab even more US STEM workers in the back. > invented a way to transmit electricity wirelessly That's already been done, first by Tesla, and more recently by the several firms which make recharging stations which do not require devices to be plugged in. > water filtration membrane that used nanotechnology to desalinate water Already done several years back. At least you could come up with an example of something that was genuinely cutting edge, a real break-through in the state of the art.
Maybe the problem is caused by all the poisonous chemicals that the Americam public is made to swallow: fluoride, chlorine, chemtrail constituents (Barium, Aluminum), numerous prescription drugs; to name but a few. This is not a joke.
Those old enough will remember when "brain drain" was an issue - 3rd World countries losing their best & brightest to the USA. No one at the time would have guessed that the "solution" would turn out to be the USA turning them away. As others have posted, a generation of the domestic best & the brightest studied how to move money around instead of make things. Unemployment for law graduates is at a record high. I haven't seen the stats for finance degrees. It's only natural for people to choose health/medicine careers. It's a guaranteed growth industry given the aging population. And there's less chance of wondering if your work has contributed to killing people or wrecking the environment. Finally, there's concern about why young women aren't choosing STEM education/ careers but I haven't seen anything yet about how that concern has led to changing those stats.
Powerful teachers unions that created and promoted a system of mediocrity in teachers. Excellence is discouraged and even punished while incompetent teachers are protected. 2 generations of pathetic politicians with stupid policy decisions that have turned the American education system into a sick joke. The late Senator Ted Kennedy for his proudest creation. Immigration quotas.
To the comment "Everyone in science knows that long-term, secure, well-paying jobs are few and far between nowadays in scientific research," I couldn't agree more. I have children who've made huge sacrifices and paid dearly to get Ph.d. degrees, and for what? Jobs are scarce, pay is terrible - let's take care of this country, create jobs for research and innovation and pay people a good salary.
But they are following the big money into law, health/medicine, banking, securities trading, etc. Everyone in science knows that long-term, secure, well-paying jobs are few and far between nowadays in scientific research. When the US returns to spending the same % of GDP on R&D as our competitor countries do (and as we used to do), you'll see those bright students shift into STEM fields. All those patents are submitted by foreigners because our research is being done at universities by cheap imported labor (i.e., foreign grad students). But have no fear, Wall Street: the patents are mostly held by US universities.
Now you know why America is falling behind, and world investors and scientists think that China will replace the United States as the top technology innovator within four years, replacing Silicon Valley: Americans don't have enough bright students and depend on foreigners to fill the innovation gap. Why aren't American young people as smart as foreign students?
These drugs and chemicals could have an adverse impact on our young. Emerging nations that compete for talent, such as China, have a very toxic and poisoned environments as well.
At some point in life I think we choose careers based upon who we choose as heros. Thank God people like Einstein, Vernor Von Braun and Thomas Mann were allowed to stay and become heros for a generation who found sufficient value in the rewards offered from intellectual pursuits. The wisdom of perhaps more accurately the lack of it in pushing business degrees in American society while dismissing the importance of scientific careers is so interlinked with our economic decline and the rise of China belies the poor choices we are making. Today we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the iPhone. On July 1, China will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong. Its completely appropriate that the two events so closely coincide and its worth noting how these two events echo the choices our two cultures make. An over populated China has eagerly absorbed the people of Hong Kong because it recognizes the value they offer. Hong Kong's free enterprise system and economic success is the engine driving China's growth and the leaders of China are pumping the entire resources of their government into supporting the culture they have absorbed. We on the other hand reward a culture devoted to moving money while shedding good minds as if they were a drain on our economy because a few people with a lot of money and too much influence over our government see the future for their wealth in China. For them there is no value in supporting intellectual resources in America when the money has been moved to China. While most of us might desire a more diverse and gifted cultural community the economics may not support it. How do we convince our government to change its ways?
I am sure there are a lot of bright people all over the world. It is funny though that this article comes at the heels of the announcement that the H1B visa cap has been met for the year (see quote below). Given the supporters and members of the board it is not a wonder that they produced such a report. These types of reports are heavily slanted and do not look at the available talent in the US. Probably because they are older and not requiring an H1-B visa are not slaves of the industry. "The H-1B cap has been reached for the 2013 Fiscal Year. As of June 11, 2012, USCIS received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap. The cap exemption of 20,000 for foreign nationals holding U.S. advanced degrees was exhausted on June 7, 2012. The agency will accept no further standard or advanced degree cap-subject cases for employment in FY 2013. "
Agreed. It often takes a huge shock -- such as Sputnik in the 1950s and World War II the decade before -- to get bright young people energized to pursue STEM programs. Perhaps seeing the incredible advancements being made in China and India will motivate North Americans to step up on STEM!
Entrepreneurship -- not waiting to be hired by someone else -- may be the best course of action for many. That's often the path taken by immigrants and green card holders.
Entrepreneurship requires capital. And STEM entrepreneurship usually requires a lot of capital. A bad economy with few jobs also has scarce capital. In any case, fresh graduates (either foreign or domestic) are NOT generally going to be able to do a STEM startup. OTOH, whatever you may think of Obamacare, it certainly does make it easier for young people to take chances with entrepreneurship after college. And a lousy economy means there is little opportunity cost for failing at a startup (since you would have just been working a McJob or unpaid internship anyway), assuming you can come up with an idea that requires little capital (not easy).